Iran downplays EU threat to boycott its oil

Updated: 2011-11-28 09:29


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TEHRAN - Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi Sunday downplayed Europe's threat to boycott Iran's crude oil, saying significant buyers of its oil are from East Asia, rather than Europe.

Iran sells oil to East Asian countries and has no extra oil for European consumers, Qasemi was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

Asked about the European plan to boycott Iranian oil, Qasemi told reporters after a cabinet meeting on Sunday that Iran has sold its oil for the next four months in advance and that the European ban could not create problems for Iran.

"Taking into account the quality of Iranian oil and Iran's second top ranking in terms of oil production, the consumers cannot be provided oil with such a quality so there is no alternative for Iranian oil supply," Qasemi added.

On Tuesday, Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company Ahmad Ghalebani said Iran has no fear of not selling oil to European countries.

Ghalebani made the comment in reaction to French officials' remarks on prohibiting imports of Iran's crude oil as a new step to expand sanctions on Tehran in the wake of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that expressed concern over the Islamic republic's controversial nuclear program.

"Many countries want Iranian crude and we are supplying them with their needed oil, so we are not afraid of not selling it to Europeans," Ghalebani was quoted as saying.

On Monday, France called on its western partners and the EU to jointly impose new sanctions on Iran to force it into negotiations on its nuclear issue.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is "civilian" and "peaceful."